September 14th, 2009

V for Vendetta


Since all of my books are still in boxes, recently started reading an online version of Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. This is a passage from the end of Chapter 7 that really struck a cord and made me smile.

If you've never programmed a computer, you should. There's nothing like it in the whole world. When you program a computer, it does exactly what you tell it to do. It's like designing a machine -- any machine, like a car, like a faucet, like a gas-hinge for a door -- using math and instructions. It's awesome in the truest sense: it can fill you with awe.

A computer is the most complicated machine you'll ever use. It's made of billions of micro-miniaturized transistors that can be configured to run any program you can imagine. But when you sit down at the keyboard and write a line of code, those transistors do what you tell them to.

Most of us will never build a car. Pretty much none of us will ever create an aviation system. Design a building. Lay out a city.

Those are complicated machines, those things, and they're off-limits to the likes of you and me. But a computer is like, ten times more complicated, and it will dance to any tune you play. You can learn to write simple code in an afternoon. Start with a language like Python, which was written to give non-programmers an easier way to make the machine dance to their tune. Even if you only write code for one day, one afternoon, you have to do it. Computers can control you or they can lighten your work -- if you want to be in charge of your machines, you have to learn to write code.


(no subject)

Wow, I just realized that in two weeks I'm turning 30...

I don't really have anything big planned. lordaerith and I are still dealing with putting the new place together post move. We're planning some sort of housewarming party in October (around Aerith's B-day), so maybe I'll just roll mine into that one.

If you want to get me a present or something, I have a few wishlist out there:
Think Geek,, somewhat out of date but if I remember I'll go add some stuff to it later.
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